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South Dakota lawmakers to focus on 2022 budget, regulating marijuana

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PIERRE, S.D. (KTIV) -- State Lawmakers are in Pierre, South Dakota preparing to work on the budget for 2022. While many states are struggling with money, South Dakota lawmakers said they have the opposite problem.

“I think the amount of one-time-use dollars out there is certainly in my tenure in the legislature we’ve never had these kinds of dollars available for one-time funding," said Senator Jean Hunhoff (R) from Yankton, SD.

A $224 million surplus is a good problem to have in a pandemic.

House Majority Leader Kent Peterson (R) said both sides will work to find a way to spread the money in a fiscally viable way.

“The governor proposed her budget back in December, about a month ago, talked about some key areas like infrastructure, she's proposing to finish the buildout, $100 million for broadband in South Dakota...when you have one-time dollars like this, we want to find uses for those that we can maybe leverage other dollars, maybe public-private partnerships situations," said House Majority Leader Kent Peterson (R) from Salem, SD

But let’s not forget about the big-ticket item from the 2020 ballot: marijuana.

South Dakotans voted to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. Right now, recreational marijuana is being challenged in court. The complaint is that the amendment is unconstitutional because it addresses multiple topics.

"Our job to do now as legislators now is to create a regulatory framework for recreational marijuana that is smart, that is safe, protects the public and protects our youth. I think we can do that," said Representative Ryan Cwach (D) from Yankton, SD.

However, medical marijuana will come up in the chambers.

“Control how it’s used, when it’s used, who has access to it, what form it’s available to be used as a form of medicine," said Representative David Anderson (R) from Hudson, SD.

Lawmakers have until July 1 to finalize the ins and outs.

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Claire Bradshaw

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